All posts by annierorem

Episode 4: Weather Talk


We know that The Weather is the most basic, most mundane small talk topic in, you know, the world.  We understand that The Weather is just boring to discuss.

Except when it isn’t.

Join us in this episode as we discuss the fascinating, and varied, uses of math in weather predictions, from model-building to handling competing forecasts. We speak with Hannah Christensen, a postdoctoral researcher in the Physics Department of Oxford University, whose 2015 Guardian article, Banking on Better Forecasts: The New Maths of Weather Prediction, outlines how forecasters use probabilistic models to minimize, or at least better explain, the “chance” in next week’s chance of rain.  We also have a conversation with Frank D’Amico, a statistician at Duquesne University, who explains the conditions under which the simple act of comparing two bell curves turns into one of the greatest unsolved puzzles in statistics, the Behrens-Fisher problem.

Turns out, The Weather isn’t so boring, after all.  To hear why, listen in to our conversation in Episode 4.  We promise: It’s not just small talk.

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Episode 3: Math and Patent Law


After a conference Anna attended this summer, during which she and her colleagues considered whether they could legally protect the work they produced, we began to wonder: To what extent can math be considered—and protected as—intellectual property?

Already comfortable with mathematical logic and reasoning, we turned to Sarah Wasserman Rajec from William & Mary Law School to help us approach this topic using logic and reason from the legal standpoint.  As we work out an answer in Math and Patent Law, we yuck it up about upstream innovation, a very important encryption algorithm, prime factorization, and whether math is created, invented or…just a matter of eyesight.

So, can you take out a patent on math?  Listen to Episode 3: Math and Patent Law to find out.

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